Phase One

Week Four: Research Project Pitch

Transcript

A recent Ontario Human Rights Commission report concludes that a black person is 20 times more likely than a white person to be shot and killed by police (CBC, 2018). Consequently, for this research project, I intend to interrogate the topic of racial discrimination in Canadian society. To supplement my research, I will draw on Desmond Cole’s article, “The Skin I’m In […],” in which he discusses his more than 50 encounters with Canadian police. In Cole’s article, he articulates in no uncertain terms that his almost unprecedented number of encounters with Canadian police stems from racial profiling because of the colour of his skin.

Because Cole’s article is heavily laden with his own opinions, which is to say that his article centers around recounts of his own life, I will further draw on statistics that support Cole’s claims. In so doing, my final project should be free of personal biases. What I find remarkably striking about Cole’s article is the fact that after more than 50 unjust encounters with Canadian police, he is still alive to tell the tale. Countless other black men, however, have lost the opportunity to tell their narrative because in many instances their innocent lives were snuffed out by racially insensitive police officers.

Much like how slavery in Canada is one of the country’s best-kept secrets (Cooper, 2018, p. 291), racial profiling and discrimination against young black men by Canadian police officers is a narrative locked within the national closet. Our history and mainstream media have painted the United States as a country rich in racial divisiveness that traces back to colonialism.   However, the dark history of Canada, as I will examine in my podcast is almost tantamount to that of the U.S… By concentrating some of my research on Canada’s history, I will demonstrate just how white privilege during colonization has transcended time to present day (McIntosh, 1990). Thus, we still read and see on the news what many have argued as indistinguishable racial profiling, discrimination and injustice by predominantly white police officers on young black men.

Desmond Cole’s story is poignant, and so is the story of many others whose voices have been silenced. My podcast will give a voice to the voiceless.

—Darren A. Mc Almont

 

References

Boisvert, N. (2018) [Black people’s ‘grossly overrepresented’ in violent police interactions,

Ontario human rights report says]. Retrieved from

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ohrc-interim-profiling-report-1.4939242.

Cooper, A. (2018) The Secret of Slavery in Canada. Gender and Women’s Studies: Critical

Terrain, 2, 291 – 302.

McIntosh, P. (1990) White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.

http://www.antiracistalliance.com/Unpacking.html.

Week Three: “The Skin I’m In […]”

Too often have I turned on the news to see what many have argued is blatant injustice, discrimination and disregard for (more often than not) innocent lives by white police officers, ostensibly because of the contrasting colour of another person’s skin. As such, for this project, I have selected Desmond Cole’s article, “The Skin I’m In: I’ve been interrogated by police more than 50 times – all because I’m black.” In this article, Cole recounts the many times his inherent blackness has resulted in his unfair interrogation by police in Canada – and this forms his central argument. However, Cole’s discriminatory experience with the police is not exclusive to himself, rather, it is the narrative of most young black men in Canada. While Cole, despite his many encounters with the police is still alive to tell his story, the unfortunate reality is that many others are not.

Although Cole’s article is grounded on his personal anecdote, his story is the reality of many – and it is because of this actuality that the Black Lives Matter – Toronto (BLM – TO) movement was birthed, which I will expound upon as my research for this project continues.  The social context on which Cole’s article is presented that makes it topical is deeply rooted in all the talk of Canada’s harmonious multi-culturalism, when in fact, racial discrimination in Canada exists and to some extent is a prevalent plague. I believe that this topic has immense potential to make an interesting podcast because I intend to incorporate the social construction theory to this research. Coupled with social construction theory, I intend to examine the lived experience of at least one other minority group to lend their voice to this topic, giving the overall project depth and substance.  

No one should ever be discriminated against for living in their own skin!

—Darren A. Mc Almont

Week Two: My opinion of whether knowledge is simply a matter of opinion.

Having reflected on the matter of opinion, I conclude that not all knowledge is a matter of opinion. While I believe that it is a fair human right that we are all entitled to an opinion, the determining factor of one person’s opinion being “good” or “bad” is relative. As such, I will divide opinion into two categories: lived experience opinion, and expert opinion. It should, therefore, go without saying that a person’s opinion based solely on his/her lived experience doesn’t always (if at all) require the need for fact-checking. Such an opinion is relative only to the person the opinion is shared with and the person sharing their opinion.

In contrast, however, an expert opinion is one which is more closely linked with theoretical and practical “knowledge.” An expert opinion is often the type of opinion in which a fee is charged for the exchange thereof. Expert opinions have a little (or perhaps a lot) more credence since such opinions come from persons learned in a particular area of study, so much so that the opinions they share have more substance. Consider, for example, the opinion you might take from a lawyer regarding a legal matter – because we value the lawyer’s opinion on the handling of a legal matter, I will assert that his/her “opinion” comes from tried, tested and proven “knowledge.” Thus, not all knowledge can be said to be only a matter of opinion.

—Darren A. Mc Almont

Hello All,

My name is Darren, and I am a transfer student to the English and Professional Writing programme, here at York. I am currently taking courses in years 1 -3 and have focused my impending degree on writing for the corporate world. My interests include: theatre, playwriting, traveling to and experiencing new places and watching classic movies.

I am truly excited about the course project because it is a deviation from the usual academic and essay writing. Although my experiencing with podcasting is as good as a pig that flies, I welcome the challenge!

Wikipedia has been and still is the first go-to for most undergraduate students. While I would consider this research tactic good for its efficiency in providing a quick answer, it is completely unacceptable for academia. The limit to such a research tactic is that the information consumed via this medium is not always the most credible - and for academic writing, the credibility of your sources is essential.